Saida Grundy, Boston University Professor is not politically correct, but she’s still correct.
(ThyBlackMan.com) Saida Grundy has started her academic career with a bang. Shortly after being hired by Boston University, the African American Studies professor set the campus on fire with a series of tweets that some found to be offensive, shocking and everything in-between. I don’t get the sense that Dr Grundy expected the public to see these tweets, but in the age of social media, anything you say online could easily be used against you.
According to numerous outlets reporting on the story, Professor Grundy expressed her concerns about white privilege, white supremacy, and the ugly, honest truth about racism in America. In other words, she said the things you can’t say when you are forced to work for white people.
On her personal Twitter account, Dr. Grundy pushed the limits of academic freedom by tweeting that “white masculinity is THE problem for america’s (sic) colleges,” and that white men are a “problem population.”
An overzealous student hunted down the professor’s remarks, and the Fox News witch hunt began. Before the firestorm, the university did the right thing by standing by Professor Grundy’s right to freedom of speech (they say liberals are supposed to believe in this sort of thing). Perhaps they were hoping that all of this would die down and go away.
But of course, we live in a society that is driven by money, not Democracy and certainly not freedom. We also live in arguably the most racist industrialized nation on earth. So, once big donors took issue with this “loud mouth black woman who doesn’t know her place,” the university started to cave. It’s easiest to do the right thing when there is no economic consequence for doing so, but once money enters into the equation, most campuses become dumbed down, weak and hypocritical.
“The University does not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive statements,” said Colin Riley, the university’s spokesman.
Riley’s statement is the kind of thing that universities say when rich people call up the campus president and threaten to stop giving them money. Universities also start to look ridiculously anti-intellectual when protecting the billions being earned from overworked, unpaid college athletes with virtually no labor rights.
When doing his complete 180 on Boston University’s position on Dr Grundy, Riley was speaking to Fox News, the media outlet that is known for saying some of the most vile, wretched things imaginable about black people. Remember when Bill O’Reilly joked about lynching Michelle Obama a few years ago? Fox News is the kind of pseudo-media outlet that big universities cave-in to when they start feeling the heat from angry bigots. Racist whites don’t care that Fox News is known for inciting hatred or promoting falsehoods. They only know that the network has lots of money and gets over two million viewers each night. That scares people, and Bill O’Reilly knows it.
I’ve never met Saida, but I know her father well. Chester Grundy was one of my most esteemed and respected mentors during college, and the kind of black man that every black child in America should have in the home. He raised Saida with both the gift and the curse of having a full understanding of black history, not the watered-down lies and White Supremacist propaganda being taught in our public schools. In other words, it’s like having both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X in your living room.
It’s difficult to have a father like Chester and not grow up angry about what’s been done to every black man, woman and child over the last 400 years. The anger is clearly justified, and those who understand history often find themselves frustrated by the millions of people who’ve been so miseducated that they believe there’s nothing to be upset about. Passivity has been so beaten into the brains of black people that when powerful White Americans tell us to sit down and shut up, we respond like Pavlov’s dog and do exactly what we are told.
Let’s break down this situation at Boston University for a second, shall we?
Here we have a group of white males at Fox News using the power of their network to agitate mostly white male donors to the point that they pressure another white male (the university spokesman) to violate the university’s academic integrity by publicly humiliating a highly-qualified black female professor who said something that white men don’t want to hear.
So, by striking back at Saida’s statement that white males are the problem, her detractors are effectively proving to us that white men actually ARE the problem. It’s kind of like someone saying, “Boyce, you’re too violent,” and my responding by punching them in the face. Or perhaps we can compare it to the way our white supremacist judicial system, along with racist media outlets like Fox News, portrayed Trayvon Martin as a violent thug, when it is George Zimmerman who now has more mugshots than most of us can count.
This kind of unfair pressure for simply speaking out against well-documented and heinous injustice against black people in America is a direct product of the very same systematic racism that Saida is referring to. The bottom line is that Saida’s attackers can’t prove her wrong, and the more they prove her right, the more they want to drag her academic corpse out into the street.
Saida’s anger at those who maintain white supremacy and systematic racism is no different from a rape victim’s irritation with those who support rape culture. It can be compared to the way holocaust survivors feel about Nazi sympathizers. Our pain is real, and there’s nothing that Dr Grundy said that millions of other conscientiously-educated black people haven’t said around the dinner table. The only difference is that, because of the White Supremacy and racial bullying (similar to the kind that Dr Grundy is experiencing right now) we are trained at an early age to remain silent about our pain, as if it doesn’t really matter.
This kind of political savagery is nothing new. White males have done this to black people since we arrived on slave ships. On the plantation, outspoken blacks were often punished in front of everyone to remind the other slaves to stay in line. So, I can assure you that there are black scholars watching Saida’s reputation being assaulted, who will now be far more hesitant to use their own voices to defend her. Instead, many of them will either mumble their support in private or join with the powerful racists who want to see her exterminated.
But again, Saida Grundy understands racism and white supremacy better than most, so I’m sure she saw this coming.
Saida’s father likely taught her about how black babies were once used as alligator bait. He showed her pictures of black men being lynched, while white males and their families enjoyed picnics with their children in the background. He might have told her about carnival games like “Hit the Coon,” where white males would bring their families to throw hard baseballs at the heads of black people. In fact, if I were to sit and inventory the list of human rights violations that white males have committed against black people, I’d be typing for the next 200 years.
The fact is that, the same way these white men are attempting to muffle Saida Grundy into relinquishing her academic freedom at the door, white males have raped, murdered, lynched, castrated, and burned alive countless black people who’ve had the courage to speak out against white supremacy in an authentic way. This kind of vicious, savage reaction to Dr Grundy is as typical and predictable as a child molester at a daycare center.
Whether they know it or not, the hiring of Saida Grundy is a test for Boston University and it might very likely be a test they will not pass. Most American universities, all of whom claim to be seeking qualified black professors, actually don’t give a damn about meaningful diversity. Instead, they are actually seeking the kind of assimilation that effectively neutralizes the ability of strong black scholars to make relevant contributions to the campus environment. That’s why many of us stopped trying to teach at places like BU a long time ago: Being a black scholar at a university that promotes and supports white supremacy is like a pastor trying to serve God at a church that worships the devil.
Dr. Grundy’s words might have ruffled a few feathers, but the public reaction to her remarks is very telling, like pouring grease on a fire to show that it burns. Whether it was the government’s decision to murder Dr Martin Luther King, the angry whites who burned down Black Wall Street, or the decision by white men to tie Malcolm X’s father to the railroad tracks, racist lynch mobs are real, and white males are usually the ones behind them.
That’s just a fact. You can’t dispute it. You can only argue that not every white male wishes to be a deliberate enemy of racial equality, a point with which most of us can agree.
The descendants of the evil whites who systematically oppressed our parents and grandparents are the same people who run our universities, corporations, prisons, schools and media outlets, protecting intergenerational power that sits on a pile of wealth that was extracted from the African American community during slavery, Jim Crow and the most recent era of mass incarceration. Those who fail to understand these systems are a huge part of the problem, and those who inadvertently support the structure of white supremacist institutions end up standing on the necks of black people because they don’t even pay attention to where their ancestors trained them to put their economic and political feet.
Saida Grundy might be the best thing to happen to Boston University in a very long time. Her weighty commentary is an opportunity for her campus to investigate the structure of the long-held cultural and socio-political failings that built the campus in which she resides. It is a chance for students to ask, “Why don’t we have very many tenured African American professors outside of African American studies?” or “Why were there almost no black people sitting at the table when this university was founded?” But rather than investigating the message, these Fox News mobs are designed to kill the messenger. They would rather eliminate Dr Grundy than try to understand her.
Black scholars should be speaking out on Dr Grundy’s behalf, rather than shuttering in the shadows, hoping that nothing like this happens to them.
White liberals should speak on behalf of Professor Grundy’s right to free expression.
True academics should stand up to support her academic freedom.
Her campus should be defending Saida Grundy as one of their own, rather than allowing Fox News to smoke her out like a black teen in the 19th century who’s been accused of looking at a white woman.
Black men should speak up in protection of the strong black women who hold our communities together while white males seek to incarcerate us, gun us down and keep us unemployed.
As much as I’d like to see free-thinking Americans come to Saida Grundy’s defense, I doubt that is going to happen. Many Americans are either too fearful or too miseducated to understand exactly what’s happening here.
Most universities in this country tend to kill the careers of their greatest intellectual prophets. But then again, that’s the American way.
Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins